I’ve thought about many different ways to write a review about ‘The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty‘, also about treating it just as a book review and not put it here on Kinky Wednesday. But just in case I want to go deep into the aspects of BDSM while I am doing a review based on my own experiences and opinions, I think this review would feel more at home at the kinky section of my blog. 🙂 Then there is another thing that occurred to me when I went on Goodreads to grab the link that I happened to take a little look at the top reviews and I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s a book that divides opinions. Initially I would think that those who are into kink would like it and those who aren’t into kink would find it disgusting. There is one thing that surprised me though, that this book managed to divide opinions within the kinky community too. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, and everyone is going to comprehend this story slightly differently. Hell, even I see it in a different way now that I read it compared to the last time I read it many years ago. Many years ago, the me who only had dark fantasies and idea of who I am, this book was one of those things that helped me realized that maybe I am into submission. Because already back then it was arousing to me, but I was just as confused as Sleeping Beauty was as to why I was aroused by such acts. Another thing that the book did to me was put a seed of fear in me when it comes to the methods of humiliation.
When I read the book again this past few weeks, I understood it in a completely different way. Of course, there is always a possibility that I imagined it to be much more clever and deep than it actually was, but I have to keep in mind who the author is and that is Anne Rice. Anne Rice is the queen of classic gothic vampire literature, one of her most famous books is ‘Interview with the vampire’. And those who like quality vampire literature, we like it because of its sensuality and eroticism, and strong symbolism of sexuality, Dominance and submission. No wonder I’ve liked anything vampire since I was young. I would argue that it’s easier to use vampires to express such taboo subjects, but I am glad Ms Rice ventured out of her comfort zone with Sleeping Beauty. Basically it’s just another story of dominance, submission and eroticism, but now there is nothing supernatural in the story, although it is clearly fiction and a fairy tale too. This time around there is no one who is clearly a monster to point the finger towards, and in so many sense, the story seems more realistic and the horrible things that happened to the characters even more horrible.
I’ve mentioned before that the thing that bothers me the most about the story of Sleeping Beauty is that there is no consent. But I kept in mind that this is a fairy tale. There wouldn’t be a story if there is consent. The whole idea of the book is Beauty’s journey of submission in a fictional story. In the same way in vampire stories when a vampire sneaks in from the window and sucks your blood, I doubt the vamp is going to wake you up first and ask for consent. That would be a totally lame vampire story (*cough* Twilight *cough*). It’s supposed to make you feel violated. And the story is about why Beauty gets aroused when she’s being humiliated and violated. And no, I’m not saying that getting aroused from being raped and spanked and treated like an animal makes it all okay. This is not a story about that. This is a story about Beauty discovering herself as a submissive (or I sincerely hope that’s where the story is going).
So a little bit about the story itself. Everyone knows the classic story of Sleeping Beauty about a beautiful princess sleeping under a spell for one hundred years and finally a prince found her and wake her up with a kiss. Except in this little re-imagining, the prince didn’t stop at a kiss. He popped that cherry, and not gently either, and quite literally claimed the little princess as his property. The brave prince turns out to be handsome and charming and the crown prince to the most powerful kingdom. But he’s also sadistic, dominating and his kingdom is known for taking slaves, including princes and princesses, all in the name of training them to be better leaders. Princes and princesses from other kingdoms would be sent as tributes or in Beauty’s case she was claimed by the prince himself, and the would promise the kings and queens of those kingdoms that their heir will be returned to them after a period of servitude, more enhanced, patient and suitable for leading a kingdom one day. Well, I guess that makes sense. A good spanking would do miracles to some world leaders today, so I guess years of training how to be an obedient slave would make a good king or queen.
So thus begin what can be described as someone’s worst nightmare or some other one’s wet dream. There’s quite a colorful buffet of fetishes in the story: kidnap, rape, spanking, public display, group play, anal, pet play, pony play, bondage, humiliation, service-based submission, cuckolding, nipple torture, forced bisexuality, crawling, crying etc etc. In the midst of all that Beauty would go through physical challenges as well as mental ones. And I think the story quite accurately describes the struggles of any submissive, even those who are equipped with consent, safewords and all there is to know about BDSM. But reading about being spanked or called a fucktoy is completely different than when you are actually being bent over someone’s knee and spanked or being called a fucktoy. 😛 So I would say for a proud respected princess to accept her fate as a slave, the shit storm of emotion that must go through. Well I don’t need to imagine the said shit storm because the book paints a pretty detailed picture about the princess’s inner musings while being humiliated. But what Beauty struggles the most with is why she gets turned on by all of the things that are done to her. She couldn’t understand her… almost eagerness to submit, the natural and organic feel to it. Because all of the other slaves she encountered basically gives her the same advice: “Obey and it would get easier.” Obeying is not a problem for Beauty, understanding the meaning of obeying and submission is. She is constantly in a confused stage, not knowing who she belongs to and being eager to please everyone. And the prince? Well, he’s being the classic case of a terrible Master and Dominant. In fear of getting too enamored with Beauty and in fear of getting too lenient, the prince would either be too strict to cover his own insecurities and jealousy or too distant and exaggeratedly nonchalant towards supposedly his own property. I’m not surprised that in the end Beauty decided to rebel. Or she’s just a little brat seeking attention. 😀
In conclusion, it’s not a book for you, if you have no interest knowing what goes on inside a submissive’s head when she’s in the middle of the process of being broken. It can get repetitive, it’s not a fast process, and like me even after 1,5 years of being a submissive, I still have those thoughts of doubt and I still get appalled by the fact that I like certain things done to me. I don’t think those thoughts would never cease, thanks so much society. I guess we kinksters are called sexual deviants for a reason, because our needs deviates from the norm. Sorry, wrong word. Not the norm, just the majority. And for those who are interested in the inner musings of submissives but are still hesitant, if you can look pass the lack of consent for the sake of drama and at all a story to tell, ‘The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty’ is an enchanting story about the beginning of a submissive’s self-discovery. And it’s always a beautiful thing to witness.
My Goodreads rating: 4 stars out of 5